Official apathy turns Doodhpathri forests into ‘hub of illicit activities’

Official apathy turns Doodhpathri forests into ‘hub of illicit activities’
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BUDGAM: At a time when the state government claims to have developed various tourist destinations across Jammu and Kashmir on modern lines and claim to have developed the infrastructure, the Doodhpathri resort in central Kashmir’s Budgam district is virtually turning into a hub of anti-social activities, courtesy official apathy and negligence.
Even though rupees in crores have been spent to construct Tourist Reception Centre at Tangnar for DDA officials, they are still working at a far off place in a rented accommodation in Budgam.
The Doodhpathri Development Authority (DDA) is headless and is without other key staff members, leaving the place open for jungle smugglers and anti-socials.
“This area is in a complete mess. There is no facility available. No water pipes established, hence no water. There is no electricity as well,” said Abdul Rashid Batti, a local who works there.
“The transmission lines have been established way back but there is o electricity yet. We are facing lot of inconvenience without the basic amenities,” he added.
“These problems could be overcome but the main problem which is taking the whole area in its grip is that the anti-religion and anti-social incidents are rampant,” he added.
“We see people, mostly youngsters, coming here to booze or to carry out other illicit activities,” said another labourer Fayaz Ahmad Chacha.
“While flocks of tourists from different places visit the place, some anti-social elements are using the forest area adjacent to Doodpathri to carry out their illegal activities”, he added.
“Empty liquor bottles, food packets, plastic bottles and other articles lie scattered in the open in the green meadows,” he said.
Meanwhile the people blame the official apathy for the mess.
“Official apathy and lack of infrastructure is causing huge inconvenience to visitors at Doodpatri,” locals complained.
They added that the potential of the picturesque hill resort has also been dampened in the absence of permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Doodpathri Development Authority (DDA).
“During rainy days, Doodpatri turns into a marshy land making it difficult for people to move around”.
Locals also blamed that the pathetic approach of the officials has led to the negative promotion of the place.
“Small number of tourists visit Doodpatri. The main reason behind this is the absence of a market place, food courts, and other facilities,” said a shopkeeper of Khansahab.
Additional deputy commissioner, Mohammad Farooq, who has been given additional charge as CEO Dodpathri Development Authority could not be reached for comments despite repeated calls.
However, Sub-District Magistrate Khansahab, Samar Naik while talking to Kashmir Reader said that the tourist reception centre was functioning in their own office at Tangnar.
Naik added that they use rented accommodation in winters only.